Government Ordered to Deliver All Information on Contaminated Water Analysis in Benito Juárez

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Residents of the Benito Juárez have obtained a provisional suspension that compels the Mexico City government authorities to deliver the information from the analyses conducted on the contaminated water, which was recently classified by the Transparency Committee of the Mexico City Water System (Sacmex).

“The basis of the injunction we are seeking is that there be no misinformation by the authorities because, if you remember, what we saw was that the head of government (Martí Batres) came out on different occasions to contradict what he had previously affirmed, that there was nothing, then that there was, without promptly informing the neighbors what we were exposed to and the possible effects on health and the environment,” explained Franco Lammoglia, a lawyer and resident of the borough, in an interview.

They seek for authorities to undertake remediation actions “We want to know what is happening because it is not enough for the authority to paternalistically tell us ‘I know nothing will happen to you, don’t worry,’ it is something we have the right to know, and in this case, the judge recognized our arguments and established that the authority must give us all the information it has,” detailed Lammoglia.

With this information, the lawyer indicated that the affected neighbors will seek for the authorities to undertake remediation actions and that the state’s patrimonial responsibility be recognized for all the expenses generated by the water contamination.

“It is important to understand that these expenses have been additional to the payment of services we make, and that obligate the authorities to provide potable water service, sanitation, and sewerage, that is, they owe us potable water, treat it and dispose of it, which they have not been fulfilling, and for not having to take responsibility for the omission they prefer to classify information,” the lawyer emphasized.

The suspension granted to the complainants is of immediate effect, so in the following days, SACMEX and the Mexico City government will have to deliver the information from the more than four thousand tests that have been carried out, according to the official reports that have been disseminated in the press conferences of the capital authorities.

“We are going to seek compliance with this order, here it is not up to the authority’s discretion to present the information, and if they do not do so, they would be in contempt, something that we would challenge and request warnings for, which could range from arrests and fines to possible arrests, so they have to comply,” said the defender.

The classification of information by Sacmex On May 8, El Sabueso reported that the documents with the results of the laboratory tests on the contaminated water in Benito Juárez were classified for three years, a decision made by the Transparency Committee of Sacmex.

According to the response provided by the Mexico City Water System through the National Transparency Platform, the classification of information was due to the fact that the agency filed a complaint with the Mexico City Prosecutor’s Office for the alleged crime of sabotage, in relation to the discovery of contaminated water in the borough.

In the document provided by Sacmex to El Sabueso, the agency argued that disclosing the classified data represents a “risk” to the investigation, as they are “related to the arguments made in the corresponding complaint.”

“By having the information exposed to public scrutiny, it is susceptible to generating erroneous, confusing, and equivocal interpretations; thereby causing serious harm to the activities of investigation in compliance with the laws, prevention or prosecution of crimes or unlawful conduct, as well as the administration of justice,” they argued.

Benito Juárez residents, dissatisfied with the decision to classify information After the classification of the information was announced, affected residents protested against Sacmex’s decision and affirmed that they would continue to seek the results of the analyses conducted on the contaminated water.

For this reason, they decided to undertake collective actions, such as the filed injunction and the mass request for the classified documentation, through the National Transparency Platform.

Through the WhatsApp groups in which they organize for all the collective actions they have undertaken, the affected shared a guide on how to submit the request, in order to pressure Sacmex to deliver the classified documents.

The problem of contaminated water in Benito Juárez

In early April, residents of various neighborhoods in the Benito Juárez borough reported that the water coming out of their pipes smelled similar to gasoline or some oil.

On April 6, after several days of reports about apparently contaminated water, the head of the capital government reported that the water from various wells was being analyzed.

In the absence of action, the affected residents blocked Insurgentes Sur Avenue and Xola to demand answers for the contaminated water. It was not until April 10 that the Alfonso XIII well was closed, which, according to the authorities, supplied the contaminated water in the borough.

Meanwhile, Martí Batres stated since April 13 that the water being distributed did not represent serious health risks. However, support for the population continued to be provided until the end of April with the delivery of water jugs, water trucks, and cleaning of cisterns and water tanks.

On May 2, a month after the reports of contaminated water in Benito Juárez began, the residents still did not know what caused the problem and pointed to the Mexico City government for not providing evidence to know that the water is now clean.

Until that date, the affected residents mentioned that they also did not have certainty that the service had been restored normally, since although the Head of Government said it was safe to use, there was no documentary proofs to support his statements.

On May 7, José Luis Luege, former director of the National Water Commission (Conagua), pointed out that the contaminant reported from the beginning is at the bottom of the Alfonso XIII well. In addition, he reported that the presence of other compounds called Trihalomethanes (THM) was detected.

Just one day later, it was announced that the Transparency Committee of the Mexico City Water System classified for three years the documents with the results of the laboratory tests on the contaminated water in the Benito Juárez borough, considering that exposing them, among other consequences, can generate “erroneous interpretations.”

Source: Animal Politico